Emerging Media

What's New, What's Coming

Mobile Website, App or Both?



With 58% of American adults owning smart phone and 63% of them using their phones to go online, having a mobile-friendly site is the only way to ensure you won’t be losing a lot of traffic and potential customers. But is a mobile site enough? Or do you need a mobile app?

Benefits of Mobile Site

For many, being able to find what you need by browsing the web from your phone or tablet is enough. Getting all the content sized right, loaded quickly and readily available through big, touchable buttons is quick and easy. As long as there is an internet connection, the content can be found and accessed through a regular search function. No installation is required for the user.

On the development side, a mobile site also has the advantage of being easier and less expensive to create and maintain than an app, which would need to be configured for each device.

When to Consider an App

While the gap between the functionality of mobile sites and native apps is narrowing, there are still instances in which an app is the better option. Apps function like a desktop software program, storing resources and using the device’s memory to perform operations quickly. They can also use the device’s functionality, such as the camera, GPS, and notifications. And they can function offline.

In practice, this means an app can offer the user:

  • Personalized notifications
  • Turn-by-turn driving or walking directions
  • The ability to manage and store data and preferences
  • Social sharing integration tools
  • Immediate access to resources regardless of internet access

Breadth vs. Depth

More people will find and visit a mobile site, but those who take the time to download an app will visit it more frequently than a mobile website.

The graphic below from MDG Advertising outlines the differences.





3 thoughts on “Mobile Website, App or Both?

  1. Great article, it is very interesting to see how mobile websites and mobile apps differ in how people use them and why. I am curious to see what happens in the next couple years to mobile websites. Will they become totally obsolete due to the take over of apps or will their use level off?

    • Thanks Rich,
      Mobile-friendly websites will be the expectation for every site. Not everyone will want to download an app, but they will want to be able to go to a website from their phone to retrieve information.

  2. Very informative article. Before reading this, I wasn’t completely aware of the difference between the two. Now I have a better understanding of how each works and whem they should be used. Thanks!

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